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Christmas Noir: Day 23

I’ll skip the unimportant details if it’s all the same to you. We met at the mall, and then we adjourned to a hotel were we could have our conversation in some kind of privacy. It wasn’t a cheap room, it was in one of the business class hotels dotted around Troy for out of town executives to come stay in and feel important. We’d gotten the best room in the place, which had more floor space than my apartment. Any other day of the week this place would have seemingly important people talking about seemingly important things. Today, actually important people were going to discuss actually important things, which made me feel like we were in the wrong place.

I put my arms around her as we looked out the window towards the exploded and confused suburb that is Troy and as I place my hands at her waist I felt a small flat automatic pistol in each of her jack pockets. They weren’t big guns, but they would do to kill a man if fired properly. I moved my hands away from the guns though and wrapped them around her waist, pulling her back into my front. She smelled like cinnamon, like holly leaves gently simmered, like the way sparkling crystal looks. She smelled like heaven and she was soft and warm and in my arms again and I could have just melted away right there. She might have killed five or six people though, some small voice mentioned in the back of my head, and that voice made me break away from her.

“I need something to drink.” I said and walked towards the small bar where a stocked mini-bar explained that while I couldn’t get drunk on the contents there might just be enough to get tipsy for the price of the national gross product of New Zealand.

She took off her jacket and moved around the hotel room, looking around like she always did. She wasn’t looking for anything in particular. She just liked examining things, seeing how nice they were or where corners led. In a way, she was like a cat that had to sniff around before being comfortable.

I poured myself a seventeen dollar mini can of coke, which was just enough to get a mouthful of liquid, but little else. I down the drink in one gulp and looked at the beauty before me. She looked so small, sitting on the large industrial sized couch. She looked even smaller, now that she’d taken her jacket off and let it rest on one of the hundreds of chairs around the table that could have seated a meeting of all the share holders in both Dow and Jones’s many companies.

I would like to have been hard with her, to tell her that she was going to start telling me everything I wanted to know or she was going to feel the back of my hand. In truth though, I couldn’t even show her the rough side of my tongue, which some of a perverse mind might wish to call a tragedy. She looked up at me with smiling lips and smiling lips, patting the seat next to her.

“Come sit my darling.” She said placing her hand on the cushion and rubbing it with her hand. That couch cushion is a filthy son of a bitch. I would have given so much to be touched so tenderly at that moment.

I was supposed to be questioning her, I was supposed to be finding out what the hell was going on, but all I wanted to do was to crawl in her lap. I wanted to press my lips to hers, to hold her so close to me that we would become almost one being. I wanted to take off her clothes to examine every inch of her and see if everything was as I’d left it so long ago. I wanted to be with her, I wanted to have her, I wanted her to have me and I knew if I started having answers I would stop having her.

A pair of voices were having an argument in my head, and as heated as it was getting there would soon be broken furniture up there. One side was pointing out, with much swearing and thrashing about that she was probably a killer, that even if she hadn’t killed anyone she had been instrumental in their deaths. The second voice, which much smack spoken about the first voices mama, point out that she could have been the devil incarnate for all it cared so long as she wanted us near. There was also a series of grunts from the lower quarters of my being, but those were base and don’t bear repeating in something so lofty as the written word.

The argument raged in my head, which meant that the rest of my body was left to fend for itself and make its own decisions. Of course the body is a piece of meat without the brain to think for it, so the outcome of this situation should surprise no one. I walked to the couch and sat down near her. I could feel her warmth from where I sat, it radiated off her like the electric heater Debbie kept under her desk. She was generating heat like there was a fire inside her.

She looked at the space between up and closed the gap by pushing her smooth firm thigh right up against my own. She leaned into me and slid her arms around me, her body acting like water to make as much of her body press against mine. The argument continued, but I must admit that the side arguing for trusting her and to hell with consequences won when her face turned up towards mine. I tiled my head in and pressed my lips against hers.

A fire storm exploded in my brain and the two voices were burned away and all that was left was the grunting animal located in the nether regions. Kissing her was like what I imagine having religion suddenly dawn on a person must feel like. It was as if a world that hadn’t made sense for so long had suddenly come into focus, like having a gauze curtain pulled away, like seeing color TV after having only known black and white.

As she tilted her body to lean into me and press the fullness of her weight against me it dawned on me that I didn’t care about answers any more, because I had the one answer I wanted. There was nothing more important than this moment of return, which was all I’d been looking for. I felt her body shudder as I gripped her and pulled the both of us up to a standing position. She pressed her head against my chest and we adjourned from that living room to one with furniture more amenable to our ends.

I will not go into a description of the fumbling of buckles and the discarding of clothing as I have always found the making of true and genuine love is embarrassing for those not involved and if I will have no other form of privacy, I will have this one. I will not fall into some trap or other about numbers of times, or if the sound was in stereo or DTS 6.1 surround sound with the bass turned away up. These things are none of your business, and they do not bear any great amount to the tale beyond the fact that they happened. I will simply advance the story to a point where something that might in some way be your business happened.

It was dark when we lay in the bed, her body half stretched across mine and half on the bed. I could feel desire still raging within me, but I was receiving calls from my body reporting that they couldn’t comply with demands anymore. The body complained that it had gone far above and beyond the call of duty, and had performed more events for longer periods than it could ever recall having done. My desires weren’t sated, but I couldn’t respond to those desires at the moment. I would at the very least have to have something to eat to gain back essential proteins and zinc which had been lost in the process. Besides, it wasn’t like we wouldn’t have time for more of that. I wasn’t going to let her go, not ever again.

I pulled her closer to me, squeezing her in so that her nose was right up against mine. She smiled and put her arms around me as well, then she kissed me, and again it was like seeing white fire burning in my brain. We only whispered to each other, our faces so close that our lips kept brushing against each others as we talked.
“We’ll have to talk about this sooner or later.” I said to her.
“I thought we were doing, not talking.” She said with a giggle.
“Not that.” I said, smiling at the thought. “We’ll have to talk about what comes next.”
“Dinner?” She asked.

“And after that.” I said.

“I know.” She sighed slightly, but didn’t move away like I feared she might.

“We’ve got to keep you safe from everyone, find someway to get you out of all this crap, push it off on someone else so you can be free of all this.”

“How do we do that?”

“Well, for starters what happened and when?” I pulled away, and pushed myself up on my elbow. I could tell I was investigating now. “And don’t go giving me that story about Sandy working with you for months and months. I know she only worked long enough to get her face smashed in.”

“How did you know that?” She asked, looking genuinely surprised.

“I am a detective you know.” I said, trying to keep hurt out of my voice.

“Oh.” She said as if considering this for only the first time. “Right, sorry.”

“So let’s be honest about it.” I said sitting up, “How much trouble are you in really?”

“Big trouble.” She said sitting up and getting out of the bed, increasing the distance between us. “I guess I’m in as deep as I’ve ever been.”

“Who killed Sandy then?” She looked at me with a worried expression and I sighed, I could feel anger beginning to boil in. “Alright, if you don’t like that question, why did you have to kill Kwanza and Chanukah then?”

“What?” She asked as she slipped her shirt on and buttoned a few buttons to keep it closed.

“I’ve got two points where I know you’ve lied to me.” I told her holding up two fingers as a visual example. “Frost doesn’t know who killed those two because Frost’s computer thought the shooter was in a hospital bed, which is a pretty lame story point and if I’d had this story done in November like I wanted I probably would have cut that bit, but it’s posted and there’s nothing we can do about it until I have time for a re-write. The second and stronger point is that you told me you hired Sandy Cloose months ago and it was more like days ago.”

“Noonan was supposed to take care of Sandy.” She said looking out the window. “He was just supposed to arrest her, or pretend to. I was supposed to disappear you see? I think he really got the fat man’s little helpers to get her. They must have misunderstood, or Noonan gave them different instructions.”

“And Chanukah and Kwanza?” I asked, placing my hands on my knees.

“Yeah.” She nodded and began to cry. “Noonan said he could prove I tried to kill Sandy, he said he could pin the whole thing on me. He said that I would have to do what he said.”

“And what else did he want you to do?” I asked, trying not to interrogate, but knowing I was.

“He said I’d have to go back to Church eventually, but that we would have fun together before that.” She sat down on the bed and started to sob into her hands. I pulled her close and she sobbed into my chest for a while before regaining her composure. “We never did anything, I put him off long enough.”
“Why did he want you to go back to Church?” I asked.
“He never said.” She told me while wiping her eyes on the bed spread. “I guess Church got to him, Church gets to a lot of people.”

“Yeah, he does.” I commented while thinking of what complete shit she was talking. “But not Tom Noonan.”

“What?” She sat up.

“If you keep lying to me, I can’t help you.” I said slowly and distinctly. “Tom didn’t have much brains but he knew better than to go up a blind alley with someone like Church. Tell me what’s really going on or I won’t be able to protect you.”

“But.” She started and I cut her off.

“I don’t care.” I almost shouted. “I don’t care what it is you’ve done or had done. I don’t care who’s died because of all this, I don’t want to see Frost or Smith’s colleges or anyone else get their hands on you and put you in a little cage to only come out during the month of December. If they get a hold of you, you won’t even get a show trial. They’ll just lock you up and tell everyone that you’re afraid for your safety. If we’re going to save you, I’ve got to know everything and I’ve got to be able to put it on someone. Church is the best candidate because he deserves to go down and if necessary he can take care of himself.”

She broke down again, sobbing like a chastised child, which was her usual defense in these situations. She cried, and I felt wretched for yelling at her, but it had to be done. She sobbed and I put my arm around her and waited. I didn’t tell her it was okay, or soothe her, I just held on. She was going to have to find out that I was serious.

“You don’t care if I did it?” She finally asked in a small and cracked voice.

“I love you.” I said, and hated myself for it. I knew I was going to betray her, so I completed it by lying to her. “All I need is to know what you’ve done so I can make sure the best way to frame up Church.”

“I’m in too deep for that.” She said shaking her head. “Any kind of trail would make the whole story fall down, it wouldn’t work.”

“Why did you really kill Kwanza and Chanukah?” I asked. “You can at least tell me that.”

“The fat man told me to.” She said, changing her story completely. “He wanted them out of the way because they competed with me too much. He set up this whole thing with Church, so they could get rid of all the competition and make peace between them. Noonan was trying to help me get away, he was supposed to attack that girl.”

“Sandy?” I asked, reminding her that Sandy Cloose had a name.

“Right.” She said pointing a finger. “Church and the fat man had been negotiating for sometime, but they kept up the appearance of animosity until everyone else had been pushed out of the way. Since I was supposed to be dead, they knew Frost wouldn’t be able to tell who’d killed the two of them so they made me do it. I thought if I got away, if I could go into hiding, it would cause them to suspect each other and I could slip away while they fought it out.”

She was lying, but I couldn’t bear to accuse her again any more than I could stand to try and sit through another version of the story. I was pretty sure that I asked her another question it would transpire that Hardrock was the second shooter on the Grassy Knoll, Cocoa was shooting from the book depository window, and Joe was the magic bullet that Opus found on that stretcher.
“How long have you been planning to get away?” I asked.

“For a while.” She said wiping a few more tears away. “I don’t know how long really I’ve planned it, but I decided I was going to do it after the show last year. The fat cunt got drunk and tried to force himself on me. I shoved him away and he got mad and threw a bottle at me. His three little helpers got him out of my room and I guess they made sure he understood what he’d tried to do was wrong, but I decided he had to go after that. That piece of shit tried to take my clothes off? Tried to tell me that it was because of him that I was so successful?”

She shook her head and I could see a look on her face that I didn’t like. She was getting into telling the story now, and a lot of bitterness was flowing out of her. I had a feeling that before she was done, she would have told me everything. All I had to do was to keep her talking.

“I managed to get myself off the stuff during the winter and early spring. It was hell, and I lost a lot of weight and almost died, but I managed. I managed and I started working out to put muscle back on my body. I mean look at me, I was never in as good of shape as I am right now. So I decided to kill the fat son of a bitch, to get rid of everyone. I wasn’t going to be anyone’s bitch anymore, at least no one’s but my own. I wasn’t going to do things the way I wanted, they way I’d always wanted.”

“Opus didn’t kill the fat man, did he?” I asked.

“No.” She said. “Opus couldn’t have gotten close enough, Hardrock would have shot him in two. I did it. I walked right up to that child molesting little bitch and I plugged him three times in the chest.”

“Why didn’t Hardrock shoot you in two then?” I asked, letting it roll out towards her.

“Hardrock, Cocoa and Joe never liked that piece of shit.” She said turning towards me. “They were conveniently out trying to kill Church for me while I shot that fat fuck.”

In spite of all she had just said, I wanted her. I wanted to kiss her, to hold her, to make love both savage and soft to her. I decided to lob out the last question that I had, which I hoped would put everything into place.

“So what was my roll in all of this to be?” I asked, leaning back against the headboard. “Why have everyone come to me?”

“I didn’t know they were going to.” She said kissing me, “I never knew they would come to you.”

“We’ll have to get Church to meet us somewhere.” I said changing the subject. “Have to find a way to ambush him.”

“He always meets people at Firefighter’s Park.” She said.
“Does he?” I asked.

“Just about.” She said. “Which is dumb because it’s easy to ambush someone there.”

“Is it?” I asked, remembering the smell of doughnuts at the park.

“Yeah.” She said nodding. “That’s usually where he does it.”

“Okay.” I said nodding. “I’ll call him and tell him that we’ve got to talk.”

Yes, today's victim was the fourth wall, it's sad to see one of our favorite characers die isn't it?

Only two more days, then it's all over.

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